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Heat Network - could one be created in Ashford?

Published: 20/12/2023
Graphics of a heat network

We are working with central government and our appointed consultants AECOM to understand the possibility of developing a District Heat Network (DHN) in Ashford.

This could help us decarbonise and move away from using fossil fuels, such as gas, and using renewable energy and waste heat to warm our buildings instead. 

Imagine local energy sources supplying local energy demand, using clean heat pumps and utilising waste heat e.g. from supermarket refrigeration, electricity sub stations and existing light industry. 

What is a District Heat Network?

A district heat network works like a giant looped central heating system, where hot water is carried in an underground system of pipes, releasing its heat where and when required to connected buildings and then returning cooler water in a loop back to an energy centre to be reheated.

Heat Networks are widely adopted on the continent in countries like Denmark and are developing all over the UK, supported by the Department of Energy Security and Net Zero. 

Ashford Borough Council has been successful in securing some funding to explore the viability of a heat network for Ashford.

What are the benefits?

Benefits of a heat network could include:

  • Reduced gas usage in the borough and thus a positive contribution to climate action
  • Stable heat prices to consumers that are not subject to market fluctuations seen in imported fuels – as heat is locally produced
  • Opportunities to reduce maintenance costs for individual buildings as they will no longer require their own boiler
  • Economic development, new skills and job sector as the network extends over time
  • Potential to provide lower heat costs compared to individual heat pumps in time.
  • The project is in a very early phase, but we hope to have a high-level plan outlining opportunities in 2024, initially for the business sector. Updates will regularly be posted on the Climate pages of this website. 

Are you an Ashford business that would like to find out more?

If you are a business using over 100,000kwh of energy p.a.; produce heat in industrial processes or have buildings that are over 500 m2 you could help us design our network by letting us know where there are pockets of high demand or opportunities to purchase waste heat.

Please contact us by sending an email to Sophie.Stiles@ashford.gov.uk

Further information

What is a heat network